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Nikon D600 vs D780

The Nikon D600 and the Nikon D780 are two enthusiast cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in September 2012 and January 2020. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are equipped with a full frame sensor. The D600 has a resolution of 24.2 megapixels, whereas the D780 provides 24.3 MP.

Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.

Headline Specifications
Nikon D600 versus Nikon D780
Nikon D600 Nikon D780
Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
Nikon F mount lenses Nikon F mount lenses
24.2 MP, Full Frame Sensor 24.3 MP, Full Frame Sensor
1080/30p Video 4K/30p Video
ISO 100-6,400 (50 - 25,600) ISO 100-51,200 (50 - 204,800)
Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
3.0 LCD, 921k dots 3.2 LCD, 2359k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Tilting touchscreen
5.5 shutter flaps per second 12 shutter flaps per second
Weathersealed bodyWeathersealed body
900 shots per battery charge2260 shots per battery charge
141 x 113 x 82 mm, 850 g 144 x 116 x 76 mm, 840 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Nikon D600 and the Nikon D780? Which one should you buy? Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their imaging sensors, their shooting features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.

Body comparison

An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Nikon D600 and the Nikon D780 is provided in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Size Nikon D600 vs Nikon D780
Compare D600 versus D780 top
Comparison D600 or D780 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Nikon D780 is somewhat larger (5 percent) than the Nikon D600. However, the D780 is slightly lighter (1 percent) than the D600. In this context, it is worth noting that both cameras are splash and dust-proof and can, hence, be used in inclement weather conditions or harsh environments.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete since they do not consider the interchangeable lenses that both of these cameras require. In this particular case, both cameras feature the same lens mount, so that they can use the same lenses. You can compare the optics available in the Nikon Lens Catalog.

Concerning battery life, the D600 gets 900 shots out of its EN-EL15 battery, while the D780 can take 2260 images on a single charge of its EN-EL15b power pack. The power pack in the D780 can be charged via the USB port, which can be very convenient when travelling.

The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. If you want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, you can move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.

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Body Specifications
    Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
Weather
Sealing
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Nikon D600 141 mm 113 mm 82 mm 850 g 900 Y Sep 2012 2,099i
2.
 
Nikon D780 144 mm 116 mm 76 mm 840 g 2260 Y Jan 2020 2,299 i
3.
 
Canon 6D Mark II 144 mm 111 mm 75 mm 765 g 1200 Y Jun 2017 1,999 i
4.
 
Canon 6D 145 mm 111 mm 71 mm 770 g 1090 Y Sep 2012 2,099i
5.
 
Nikon D6 160 mm 163 mm 92 mm 1270 g 3580 Y Feb 2020 6,499 i
6.
 
Nikon Z6 II 134 mm 101 mm 70 mm 705 g 410 Y Oct 2020 1,999 i
7.
 
Nikon D5 160 mm 159 mm 92 mm 1415 g 3780 Y Jan 2016 6,499i
8.
 
Nikon D500 147 mm 115 mm 81 mm 860 g 1240 Y Jan 2016 1,999 i
9.
 
Nikon D750 141 mm 113 mm 78 mm 750 g 1230 Y Sep 2014 2,299i
10.
 
Nikon D7100 136 mm 107 mm 76 mm 765 g 950 Y Feb 2013 1,199i
11.
 
Nikon Df 144 mm 110 mm 67 mm 760 g 1400 Y Nov 2013 2,749i
12.
 
Nikon D610 141 mm 113 mm 82 mm 850 g 900 Y Oct 2013 1,999 i
13.
 
Nikon D800 146 mm 123 mm 82 mm 1000 g 900 Y Feb 2012 2,999i
14.
 
Nikon D800E 146 mm 123 mm 82 mm 1000 g 900 Y Feb 2012 3,299i
Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.

The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The manufacturer’s suggested retail prices give an idea on the placement of the camera in the maker’s lineup and the broader market. The D600 was somewhat cheaper (by 9 percent) than the D780 at launch, but both cameras fall into the same price category. Normally, street prices remain initially close to the MSRP, but after a couple of months, the first discounts appear. Later in the product cycle and, in particular, when the replacement model is about to appear, further discounting and stock clearance sales often push the camera price considerably down.

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Sensor comparison

The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors of image quality. All other things equal, a large sensor will have larger individual pixel-units that offer better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Furthermore, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more possibilities to use shallow depth-of-field in order to isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.

Both cameras under consideration feature a full frame sensor, but their sensors differ slightly in size. They nevertheless have the same format factor of 1.0. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

Technology-wise, the D780 uses a more advanced image processing engine (EXPEED 6) than the D600 (EXPEED 3), with benefits for noise reduction, color accuracy, and processing speed.

Nikon D600 and Nikon D780 sensor measures

Despite having a slightly smaller sensor, the D780 offers a slightly higher resolution of 24.3 megapixels, compared with 24.2 MP of the D600. This megapixels advantage comes at the cost of a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 5.94μm versus 5.97μm for the D600). However, it should be noted that the D780 is much more recent (by 7 years and 3 months) than the D600, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that make it possible to gather light more efficiently.

The D780 has on-sensor phase detect pixels, which results in fast and reliable autofocus acquisition even during live view operation.

The Nikon D600 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 6400, which can be extended to ISO 50-25600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Nikon D780 are ISO 100 to ISO 51200, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 50-204800.

D600 versus D780 MP

Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. This service determines an overall sensor rating, as well as sub-scores for low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and color depth ("DXO Portrait"). The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.

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Sensor Characteristics
    Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
1.
 
Nikon D600 Full Frame 24.2 6016 40161080/30p25.114.2298094
2.
 
Nikon D780 Full Frame 24.3 6048 40244K/30p........
3.
 
Canon 6D Mark II Full Frame 26.0 6240 41601080/60p24.411.9286285
4.
 
Canon 6D Full Frame 20.0 5472 36481080/30p23.812.1234082
5.
 
Nikon D6 Full Frame 20.7 5568 37124K/30p........
6.
 
Nikon Z6 II Full Frame 24.3 6048 40244K/60p........
7.
 
Nikon D5 Full Frame 20.7 5588 37124K/30p25.112.3234388
8.
 
Nikon D500 APS-C 20.7 5568 37124K/30p24.014.0132483
9.
 
Nikon D750 Full Frame 24.2 6016 40161080/60p24.814.5295693
10.
 
Nikon D7100 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.213.7125683
11.
 
Nikon Df Full Frame 16.2 4928 3280none24.613.1327989
12.
 
Nikon D610 Full Frame 24.2 6016 40161080/30p25.114.4292594
13.
 
Nikon D800 Full Frame 36.2 7360 49121080/30p25.314.4285395
14.
 
Nikon D800E Full Frame 36.2 7360 49121080/30p25.614.3297996

Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. Both cameras under consideration are equipped with sensors that have a sufficiently high read-out speed for moving images, but the D780 provides a better video resolution than the D600. It can shoot movie footage at 4K/30p, while the D600 is limited to 1080/30p.

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Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The D600 and the D780 are similar in the sense that both have an optical viewfinder. The latter is useful for getting a clear image for framing even in brightly lit environments. The viewfinders of both cameras offer the same field of view (100%), as well as the same magnification (0.70x). The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Nikon D600 and Nikon D780 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.

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Core Features
    Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
(000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Mech
Shutter
Speed
Shutter
Flaps
(1/sec)
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
1.
 
Nikon D600optical Y 3.0 921 fixed n 1/4000s 5.5 Y n
2.
 
Nikon D780optical Y 3.2 2359 tilting Y 1/8000s 12.0 n n
3.
 
Canon 6D Mark IIoptical Y 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 6.5 n n
4.
 
Canon 6Doptical Y 3.0 1040 fixed n 1/4000s 4.5 n n
5.
 
Nikon D6optical Y 3.2 2359 fixed Y 1/8000s 14.0 n n
6.
 
Nikon Z6 II3690 Y 3.2 2100 tilting Y 1/8000s 14.0 n Y
7.
 
Nikon D5optical Y 3.2 2359 fixed Y 1/8000s 14.0 n n
8.
 
Nikon D500optical Y 3.2 2359 tilting Y 1/8000s 10.0 n n
9.
 
Nikon D750optical Y 3.2 1229 tilting n 1/4000s 6.0 Y n
10.
 
Nikon D7100optical Y 3.2 1229 fixed n 1/8000s 6.0 Y n
11.
 
Nikon Dfoptical Y 3.2 921 fixed n 1/4000s 5.5 n n
12.
 
Nikon D610optical Y 3.2 921 fixed n 1/4000s 6.0 Y n
13.
 
Nikon D800optical Y 3.2 921 fixed n 1/8000s 4.0 Y n
14.
 
Nikon D800Eoptical Y 3.2 921 fixed n 1/8000s 4.0 Y n

One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The D600 has one, while the D780 does not. While the built-in flash of the D600 is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.

The Nikon D600 and the Nikon D780 both have an intervalometer built-in. This enables the photographer to capture time lapse sequences, such as flower blooming, a sunset or moon rise, without purchasing an external camera trigger and related software.

Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the D600 and the D780 write their files to SDXC cards. Both cameras feature dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. The D780 supports UHS-II cards (on both slots), while the D600 can use UHS-I cards.

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Connectivity comparison

For some imaging applications, the extent to which a camera can communicate with its environment can be an important aspect in the camera decision process. The table below provides an overview of the connectivity of the Nikon D600 and Nikon D780 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

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Input-Output Connections
    Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
1.
 
Nikon D600YmonomonoYYmini2.0---
2.
 
Nikon D780YstereomonoYYmini3.1Y-Y
3.
 
Canon 6D Mark IIYstereomonoY-mini2.0YYY
4.
 
Canon 6DYmonomonoY-mini2.0Y--
5.
 
Nikon D6YstereomonoYYmini3.1Y-Y
6.
 
Nikon Z6 IIYstereomonoYYmicro3.2Y-Y
7.
 
Nikon D5YstereomonoYYmini3.0---
8.
 
Nikon D500YstereomonoYYmini3.0YYY
9.
 
Nikon D750YstereomonoYYmini2.0Y--
10.
 
Nikon D7100YstereomonoYYmini2.0---
11.
 
Nikon DfY----mini2.0---
12.
 
Nikon D610YmonomonoYYmini2.0---
13.
 
Nikon D800YmonomonoYYmini3.0---
14.
 
Nikon D800EYmonomonoYYmini3.0---

It is notable that the D780 offers wifi support, which can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location. In contrast, the D600 does not provide wifi capability.

Studio photographers will appreciate that the Nikon D780 (unlike the D600) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.

The D780 is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Nikon. In contrast, the D600 has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the D600 was succeeded by the Nikon D610. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Nikon website.

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Review summary

So what conclusions can be drawn? Which of the two cameras – the Nikon D600 or the Nikon D780 – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.


Reasons to prefer the Nikon D600:

  • Easier fill-in: Is equipped with a small onboard flash to brighten deep shadow areas.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in September 2012).


Advantages of the Nikon D780:

  • Better jpgs: Has a more modern image processing engine (EXPEED 6 vs EXPEED 3).
  • Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (4K/30p vs 1080/30p).
  • Better live-view autofocus: Features on-sensor phase-detection for more confident autofocus.
  • Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.2" vs 3.0") for image review and settings control.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (2359k vs 921k dots).
  • More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
  • Fewer buttons to press: Has a touchscreen to facilitate handling and shooting adjustments.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/4000s) to freeze action.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (12 vs 5.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (2260 versus 900) out of a single battery charge.
  • Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
  • Faster data transfer: Supports a more advanced USB protocol (3.1 vs 2.0).
  • Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
  • Easier wireless transfer: Supports Bluetooth for image sharing without cables.
  • Better studio light control: Has a PC Sync socket to connect to professional strobe lights.
  • Faster buffer clearing: Supports a more advanced SD data transfer standard (UHS-II vs UHS-I).
  • More modern: Reflects 7 years and 3 months of technical progress since the D600 launch.

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the D780 is the clear winner of the contest (17 : 2 points). However, the pertinence of the various camera strengths will differ across photographers, so that you might want to weigh individual camera traits according to their importance for your own imaging needs before making a camera decision. A professional wildlife photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a family photog, and a person interested in architecture has distinct needs from a sports shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.

D600 02:17 D780

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Nikon D600 and the Nikon D780 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR Camera listing whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.

In any case, while the comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the D600 or the D780. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased.

Expert reviews

This is where reviews by experts come in. The table below provides a synthesis of the camera assessments of some of the best known photo-gear review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], dpreview [DPR], ephotozine [EPZ], photographyblog [PB]). As can be seen, the professional reviewers agree in many cases on the quality of different cameras, but sometimes their assessments diverge, reinforcing the earlier point that a camera decision is often a very personal choice.

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Expert Camera Reviews
     Camera 
 Model 
 AP 
 score 
 CL 
 score 
 DPR 
 score 
 EPZ 
 score 
 PB 
 score 
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Nikon D6004/5+ +87/1005/54.5/5 Sep 2012 2,099i
2.
 
Nikon D7805/5..87/1004.5/54.5/5 Jan 2020 2,299 i
3.
 
Canon 6D Mark II4/5+80/1004.5/54/5 Jun 2017 1,999 i
4.
 
Canon 6D5/5+ +83/1004.5/54.5/5 Sep 2012 2,099i
5.
 
Nikon D6......4.5/54.5/5 Feb 2020 6,499 i
6.
 
Nikon Z6 II4.5/5..89/1004.5/54.5/5 Oct 2020 1,999 i
7.
 
Nikon D5....89/1004.5/55/5 Jan 2016 6,499i
8.
 
Nikon D5005/5+ +91/1004.5/55/5 Jan 2016 1,999 i
9.
 
Nikon D7505/5+ +90/1004.5/54.5/5 Sep 2014 2,299i
10.
 
Nikon D71005/5+ +85/1004.5/54.5/5 Feb 2013 1,199i
11.
 
Nikon Df4/5..81/1004/54/5 Nov 2013 2,749i
12.
 
Nikon D6104/5+ +87/1004.5/54.5/5 Oct 2013 1,999 i
13.
 
Nikon D8005/5+ +82/1005/55/5 Feb 2012 2,999i
14.
 
Nikon D800E....84/1005/55/5 Feb 2012 3,299i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.

Nikon D600:
Check Ebay offers
Nikon D780:
Check Amazon price

Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you are interested in seeing how other cameras pair up, just make your choice using the following search menu. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.

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    Specifications: Nikon D600 vs Nikon D780

    Below is a side-by-side comparison of the specs of the two cameras to facilitate a quick review of their differences and common features.

    Camera Specifications
    Camera Model Nikon D600 Nikon D780
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens Nikon F mount lenses Nikon F mount lenses
    Launch Date September 2012 January 2020
    Launch Price USD 2,099 USD 2,299
    Sensor Specs Nikon D600 Nikon D780
    Sensor Technology CMOS BSI-CMOS
    Sensor Format Full Frame Sensor Full Frame Sensor
    Sensor Size 35.9 x 24.0 mm 35.9 x 23.9 mm
    Sensor Area 861.6 mm2 858.01 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 43.2 mm 43.1 mm
    Crop Factor 1.0x 1.0x
    Sensor Resolution 24.2 Megapixels 24.3 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 6016 x 4016 pixels 6048 x 4024 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 5.97 μm 5.94 μm
    Pixel Density 2.80 MP/cm2 2.84 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability 1080/30p Video 4K/30p Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 6,400 ISO 100 - 51,200 ISO
    ISO Boost 50 - 25,600 ISO 50 - 204,800 ISO
    Image Processor EXPEED 3 EXPEED 6
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 94 ..
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 25.1 ..
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 14.2 ..
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 2980 ..
    Screen Specs Nikon D600 Nikon D780
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100% 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.70x 0.70x
    Top-Level Screen Control Panel Control Panel
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0inch 3.2inch
    LCD Resolution 921k dots 2359k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Tilting screen
    Touch Input no Touchscreen Touchscreen
    Shooting Specs Nikon D600 Nikon D780
    Focus System Phase-detect AF Phase-detect AF
    Manual Focusing Aidno Peaking FeatureFocus Peaking
    Max Shutter Speed (mechanical) 1/4000s 1/8000s
    Continuous Shooting 5.5 shutter flaps/s 12 shutter flaps/s
    Shutter Life Expectancy150 000 actuations200 000 actuations
    Time-Lapse PhotographyIntervalometer built-inIntervalometer built-in
    Fill Flash Build-in Flash no On-Board Flash
    Storage Medium SDXC cards SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Dual card slots Dual card slots
    UHS card support UHS-I Dual UHS-II
    Connectivity Specs Nikon D600 Nikon D780
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    Studio Flash no PC Sync PC Sync socket
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 3.1
    HDMI Port mini HDMI mini HDMI
    Microphone Port External MIC port External MIC port
    Headphone Socket Headphone port Headphone port
    Wifi Support no Wifi Wifi built-in
    Bluetooth Support no Bluetooth Bluetooth built-in
    Body Specs Nikon D600 Nikon D780
    Environmental SealingWeathersealed bodyWeathersealed body
    Battery Type EN-EL15 EN-EL15b
    Battery Life (CIPA)900 shots per charge2260 shots per charge
    In-Camera Charging no USB charging USB charging
    Body Dimensions 141 x 113 x 82 mm
    (5.6 x 4.4 x 3.2 in)
    144 x 116 x 76 mm
    (5.7 x 4.6 x 3.0 in)
    Camera Weight 850 g (30.0 oz) 840 g (29.6 oz)

    Did you notice an error on this page? If so, please get in touch, so that we can correct the information.

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